Captain Ranty posts that the time has come for the British people to say 'No!' to the state, a plan which we should all support. In fact, I have already started with a programme of rebellion against the petty fines that various bodies attempt to impose for failure to meet 'their' rules - ie putting bins out on the wrong day; having too long a lead on one's dog, etc, etc.
In the past four weeks I have said 'No!' to two local authorities who each wished to 'fine' me £80 for alleged parking contraventions, First Great Western Trains who wished to impose a penalty charge for failing to have a ticket and the DVLA who also wished to 'fine' me £80 as they had not received my SORN notice.
My appeal against both local authorities rested on the fact that Councils have to address every aspect raised in any appeal against a parking fine, as required by Regulation 5(2) of the Civil Enforcement of Parking Contraventions (England) Appeals and Representations Regulations 2007; Paragraph 11.15 of the guidance issued by the Department of Transport in 2008 and Section 87 of the Traffic Management Act 2004. The appeal to the Traffic Penalty Tribunal in Manchester was, needless to say, upheld.
It was pointed out to First Great Western Trains that I was not attempting to avoid paying a fare, that the ticket machine at the unmanned station whence I started my journey was inoperative and as they were providing a service (or supposed to be providing a service), having reached my destination (Oxford), I was now attempting to pay the required fare at the first opportunity convenient to me. Following a long conversation with the Excess Fares Collector and my final offer that as I had no intention of paying any penalty, or part thereof, First Great Western could take me to court, the excess penalty was waived.
In the case of the DVLA it transpired that having submitted a SORN the onus rests on the driver to ensure that an acknowledgement is received within 4 weeks, as stipulated on the form V890. The DLA also informed me that although I indicated that the statutory notice had been sent, it had not been received and that I was still liable for the £80 penalty. Replying that they could not prove they had not received the SORN, I also informed them that I had no intention of paying and that if they wished to pursue the matter I was only to happy to continue the conversation in a court of law. Four days later I received a letter from the DVLA confirming that my SORN had been registered.
It really does seem that rebellion (not, unfortunately, necessarily bloody) pays dividends - it may require a little research in one's defence but is obviously well worth the effort!